Turkish Lamb & Eggplant Kebabs
Here we combine baharat, a traditional Arabic spice blend, with olive oil, lemon, garlic and tomato paste to make it into a savory rub to flavor lamb-and-vegetable kebabs.
Yield: 8 servings
Active Time: 75
Total Time: 225
Baharat (Turkish Spice Paste) & Lamb
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika (see Note)
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 pounds boneless leg of lamb, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
- 4 Japanese or other small eggplant (about 1 1/4 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch rounds
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 medium red onions, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Lemon wedges for serving
- To prepare spice paste & marinate lamb: Combine 2 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, paprika, tomato paste, garlic, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, cumin, coriander, cayenne to taste, cinnamon and allspice in a medium bowl. Transfer 2 tablespoons of the mixture to a small bowl and set aside. Add lamb to the remaining spice paste and stir until well coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 1 day.
- To prepare kebabs: Preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat or prepare a medium-high-heat fire in a charcoal grill.
- Lay eggplant slices on a baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let stand for about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, thread the lamb and onion alternately onto skewers.
- Rinse the eggplant and pat dry with paper towels. Thread horizontally onto skewers (through the skin) so the eggplant will lie flat on the grill. Stir 1/4 cup oil into the reserved spice paste in the small bowl; brush the mixture all over the eggplant.
- Place the lamb kebabs in the center, hotter part of the grill. Place the eggplant kebabs around the outside, cooler part of the grill. (Grill the kebabs in two batches if necessary.) Grill the lamb, turning every 2 to 3 minutes, until the meat is nicely browned on the outside, but still a little pink in the center, 10 to 12 minutes total. Grill the eggplant, turning once or twice, until soft and browned on both sides, 9 to 11 minutes total. Remove to a clean large serving platter. Serve with lemon wedges.
Tips & Notes
- Make Ahead Tip: Marinate lamb (Step 1) for up to 1 day. | Equipment: 10 to 12 (12-inch) skewers
- Note: Paprika labeled “Hungarian” is worth seeking out for this recipe because it delivers a fuller, richer flavor than regular paprika. Find it at well-stocked supermarkets, specialty-foods stores or online at penzeys.com.
Nutrition Bonus: Zinc (17% daily value)
1/2 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 1 1/2 vegetable, 2 1/2 lean meat, 2 fat